Working From Home – Encouragement After the 2020 Experience

Mar 23, 2021 (0) comment , , , , , , , ,

When I was assigned to write a blog for our company’s website on what it’s like working from home in a pandemic with 2 kids at home, I couldn’t help but laugh. Then I proceeded to not write this blog for almost 3 months. If that doesn’t sum up what its like to be home 24/7 with two small children while working a 40-hour work week, I don’t know how else to explain it. 

All joking aside, I think this quote from Tina Fey kind of puts it all into perspective. “I think every working mom probably feels the same thing. You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible – oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going and you sort of do the impossible.” I’ve been working from home for 3 years now. Thankfully for me, the pandemic didn’t really disturb my working environment. However, the preschool that my 4-year-old son and 3 year old daughter attended (at the start of the pandemic) was now closed. I went from being able to focus 100% on managing a staff of employees, supporting the president of the company and being able to complete my work and clear my emails at the end of the day, to finding it difficult to even get through half of my day without either my children or yes, myself, having a breakdown. 

But as Tina mentions, I had to push through it. I achieved what I thought was impossible. I had to get into a routine. I also learned that kids have an endless stomach pit. I swear I was up and down my two-story house every 30-45 minutes looking for some snack, drink or activity for my kids to do to keep them busy. I relied on (dare I say, a controversial topic in the parent community) tablets and TV to get through being able to work on one of my own work projects or to get through a conference call without being interrupted. I was able to work this way from March until September, then school started. My son was officially in kindergarten. If I thought working from home with kids was hard before, man, I was in for it. 

I have never felt more like I was failing my children than I have in the last 6 months. With the school systems closed for in person learning, the districts relied on parents to use online resources to educate the children. Every district, every school, every state was different on their approach for virtual learning. In my district, in Eastern Washington, it was 100% parent run with an hour a week of a Google Meets call with the teacher and fellow classmates. The school was requiring their students, including my 5-year-old, son who had never been to school before, to sit in front of a computer for 4 -6 hours a day working on virtual assignments. My son was expected to “learn” his alphabet, count numbers, phonetics, and how to act in socially acceptable ways via a computer screen. Since my son was so young, there was no possible way he was able to sit through the programs himself. He couldn’t read. He didn’t know how to use a computer. I had to find a way to not only help my son with his homeschool work, but also navigate through THE busiest work season of the year. I was exhausted. He was exhausted. My 4-year-old daughter was neglected. My house was a mess. The meals I made my family were not healthy. I had a very hard time prioritizing what was important. I let my own personal mental health subside. No one knew though. I pushed through it all. 

I came across a blog written by a fellow HR professional and mother. I have never related to a blog more than I did her’s. You can read it here. I have found that with putting together a schedule and realizing that although I WANT to do it all, I can’t, the days seem to progress smoother. No one can do it all. I now ask for help and don’t fear the judgment from my husband or others that I am not able to do everything. I will ask my husband to pick up dinner after a long day rather than stressing myself out over trying to cook for everyon. I have hired someone to help me clean my house when things just get out of hand. I have even found great help in some high school students in my community with tutoring my kids. I have also had to learn, that what I need and want is important. If I need some quiet time to myself or if I want to mentally check out to cruise social media, I am entitled to do so (as long as my kids are safe). Despite all the stress of the last 12 months during this pandemic, I really feel that myself along with all the other super moms have indeed done the impossible. We have made it through, perhaps with more greys in our hair than we had before. 

Written by Kasey Watson

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